Albany poet collaborates with others in PBS “For my people…” project

PBS American Portrait has partnered with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and former United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey to create a community led project this fall.

Poets across the country — including the Capital District’s own R.M. Engelhardt — have submitted their own updated interpretations of Margaret Walker’s iconic 1942 work, “For My People.”

Engelhardt, from Albany, has been a poet and writer for 25 years and here is his piece, which has been shared by PBS:

For My People

For all those of all colors, all religions
Nations and creeds. Forgotten and
broken and cast aside by the once
great vision of a dream.
Which was once called my home my
family my right my country tis’ of


Where me must rise once more and
To change this world.

All in good faith and in the new
found Freedom of hope
Shining across this land like a
of light and of stars

In the dark.

We must rise once more and again
For my people

A nation in silence
Without a voice of its own

R.M. Engelhardt

People are welcome to submit their own verses here, and Trethewey will compile select parts for a larger poem to be shared to the world in January.

Engelhardt has been published in numerous journals and is the original founder of Albany Poets and the annual AlbanyWordFest. More of his works can be found on his website.

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